The European refugee crisis is challenging policy makers because it affects a wide range of European policy simultaneously. At the Society of Government Economists’ conference Klaus F. Zimmermann will review major research findings of migration economics and their implications for the economy and society at large in Europe.
He argues that the continent needs more temporary and permanent migration for economic and demographic reasons. Such immigration would be beneficial, as it has been in the past. The current refugee stream is neither economically problematic nor is it the solution for the European labor market challenges. The refugee crisis is a crisis of policy-making and the European institutions. In spite of recent decisions of European state governments to close their borders for refugees, it is impossible to “defend” the South border of Europe without creating illegal inflows. For humanitarian migrants there cannot be an upper limit. A better long-term policy is needed to reduce the causes of refugee flows and illegal economic migration in the South of Europe. A proper strategy needs to include quotas for EU member states, a legal inflow of asylum seekers and refugees into Europe and legal channels for work (circular migration and immigration). The rise of right-wing parties and of EU-skepticism provides a challenge to the European political system, however, which may destroy it. Not less, but rather more Europe is needed.
A recent op-ed on the issue in the Wall Street Journal.
‘Migration, jobs and integration in Europe’ in: Migration Policy Practice, 2014, 6(4), 4-16